31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Night
by Robert Burns

(For an audio recording, click here!)

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear,
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks,
And shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, country-folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween
Fu' blithe that night.

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine;
Their faces blithe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin';
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,
Weel knotted on their garten,
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs,
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin'
Whiles fast at night.

Then, first and foremost, through the kail,
Their stocks maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, and graip and wale,
For muckle anes and straught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
And wander'd through the bow-kail,
And pou't, for want o' better shift,
A runt was like a sow-tail,
Sae bow't that night.

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar and cry a' throu'ther;
The very wee things, todlin', rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther;
And gif the custoc's sweet or sour.
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne cozily, aboon the door,
Wi cannie care, they've placed them
To lie that night.

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a'
To pou their stalks of corn:
But Rab slips out, and jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard and fast;
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kitlin' in the fause-house
Wi' him that night.

The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits,
Are round and round divided,
And monie lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle coothie, side by side,
And burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa, wi' saucy pride,
And jump out-owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie ee;
Wha 'twas she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, and this is me,
She says in to hersel:
He bleezed owre her, and she owre him,
As they wad never mair part;
Till, fuff! he started up the lum,
And Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compared to Willie;
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,
And her ain fit it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel and Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin';
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view,
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks,
And slips out by hersel:
She through the yard the nearest taks,
And to the kiln goes then,
And darklins graipit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue throws then,
Right fear't that night.

And aye she win't, and aye she swat,
I wat she made nae jaukin',
Till something held within the pat,
Guid Lord! but she was quakin'!
But whether 'was the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She didna wait on talkin'
To spier that night.

Wee Jennie to her grannie says,
"Will ye go wi' me, grannie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:"
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap'rin',
She notice't na, an aizle brunt
Her braw new worset apron
Out through that night.

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
I daur you try sic sportin',
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune.
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
And lived and died deleeret
On sic a night.

"Ae hairst afore the Sherramoor, --
I mind't as weel's yestreen,
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
I wasna past fifteen;
The simmer had been cauld and wat,
And stuff was unco green;
And aye a rantin' kirn we gat,
And just on Halloween
It fell that night.

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
A clever sturdy fallow:
His son gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel,
And he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel,
He was sae sairly frighted
That very night."

Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck,
And he swore by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense.
The auld guidman raught down the pock,
And out a hanfu' gied him;
Syne bade him slip frae 'mang the folk,
Some time when nae ane see'd him,
And try't that night.

He marches through amang the stacks,
Though he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks.
And haurls it at his curpin;
And every now and then he says,
"Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
And her that is to be my lass,
Come after me, and draw thee
As fast this night."

He whistled up Lord Lennox' march
To keep his courage cheery;
Although his hair began to arch,
He was say fley'd and eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
And then a grane and gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
And tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
And young and auld came runnin' out
To hear the sad narration;
He swore 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
Till, stop! she trotted through them
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen,
To win three wechts o' naething;
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the herd a pickle nits,
And two red-cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That very nicht.

She turns the key wi cannie thraw,
And owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca'
Syne bauldly in she enters:
A ratton rattled up the wa',
And she cried, Lord, preserve her!
And ran through midden-hole and a',
And pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night;

They hoy't out Will wi' sair advice;
They hecht him some fine braw ane;
It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice
Was timmer-propt for thrawin';
He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak,
For some black grousome carlin;
And loot a winze, and drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin'
Aff's nieves that night.

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlin;
But, och! that night amang the shaws,
She got a fearfu' settlin'!
She through the whins, and by the cairn,
And owre the hill gaed scrievin,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burn
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As through the glen it wimpl't;
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.

Among the brackens, on the brae,
Between her and the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up and gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool!
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit;
but mist a fit, and in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies three are ranged,
And every time great care is ta'en',
To see them duly changed:
Auld Uncle John, wha wedlock joys
Sin' Mar's year did desire,
Because he gat the toom dish thrice,
He heaved them on the fire
In wrath that night.

Wi' merry sangs, and friendly cracks,
I wat they didna weary;
And unco tales, and funny jokes,
Their sports were cheap and cheery;
Till butter'd so'ns, wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin';
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
They parted aff careerin'
Fu' blythe that night.

30 October 2008

Ghosthunters Live! Woot!

Civil War POW camp, anyone? Muuaahahahaha...

29 October 2008

Win a FREE print book from Samhain Publishing!

Did you know Samhain Publishing does a monthly print book giveaway? Want to know how get in on it? Here's what you do for this month's contest:

1. If you're not a member already, get thee to the Samhain Cafe and sign up. Contest is for members only.

2. Email your answers to the questions below to the following: cafecontest@samhainpublishing.com by 11:00 am EST October 30, 2008 (that's tomorrow morning)

3. Do NOT post the answers on the cafe.

4. All correct entries will be put in the handy-dandy random number generator and the winner will receive their choice of one of the 14 new print releases! The winner will be announced at 7:00 pm EST Oct 30, 2008.

*hint* there's a question for every new print release. The new print releases and their blurbs and excerpts can be found listed on the RIGHT of the Samhain homepage.

Good luck!


1. In Song of my Heart name one of the feminists Abigail was inspired by.

2. Who are the Blacksuits?

3. In Trinity Broken, which one of the trinity is NOT a shapeshifter?

4. Where is Lachmuirghan?

5. Which new print release unites vampire, were and fey?

6. Anticipation and Seduction consists of which two titles?

7. In Shadowed Knight, what color are Berenger's eyes?

8. What color is Raven?

9. In the Marked excerpt, Liam made a request of Alec, what was it?

10. Name the five brothers in Key West Magic

11. "I should have warned you that Cookie's entire purpose in life is to make me miserable. I'm sorry if he embarrassed you." Who said those words?

12. In Dreams for Stones what type of fish did Kathy catch?

13. Who is Beaudry's ghost?

14. Which title teases you with domination, submission, menage a trios, voyeurism and hot nekkid man-love?

Remember, get your answers in by 11 a.m. Oct. 30 for this month's drawing!

Er, about the graphic...I figured, what'll attract more attention, free books or free beer? Then I thought, why not both? LOL

27 October 2008

Four Hearts from TRS!

Check out my latest review for Abhainn's Kiss from The Romance Studio!

Abhainn lives a sheltered life on an Island off the Irish sea coast not knowing that she is the last of her Faery race. When a life-threatening encounter with a troll reveals the truth of her heritage, she is very shaken. Only having days to complete her destiny in life and take the place in the Great Circle on the Isle of Avalon. Defying the curse that banishes her from the sun, Abhainn must try her best to right wrongs between worlds. Michael Craig is a non-believer in fairy-tales and legends. A kiss seals his fate with Abhainn and brings the past back to haunt him, but it is his fighting skills, determination and ability to accept the unacceptable that will bring him his true destiny with Abhainn. Can a skeptic become a believer?

This is a well-written story that will capture your attention from the first paragraph. Abhainn and Michael are characters developed in such a way that the blending of what they are, faery and human, is done very smoothly. Fantasy is a major theme in this tale and Ms. Ivey does a fine job portraying it with imaginative writing and colorful scenes. The one thing that did draw me in was the innocence of Abhainn and her past connection to Michael even though he doesn't remember them being friends in childhood. I liked the fact that this sets the story up for the future between them. Those who like a good fantasy story that simmers and builds will appreciate this fantastic book.

Review by Tj

21 October 2008

Congratulations to my contest winner!

Gina Growe was my winner in the Get Hooked on a New Series contest! Congratulations, Gina!

(No, she doesn't win the nice abs guy. She gets a free book!)

There's still some time left to enter two other contests I'm involved in this month.
Click here for details!

13 October 2008

Celtophile Monday, Fine Feathered Edition

This morning I saw a video of a bald eagle that had spent its life in captivity learning to fly. As I went online looking for that video so I could share here, I didn't find one but ran across a similar article about a 30-year-old golden eagle in Scotland also being taught to fly free after 27 years in a cage. If this doesn't jerk a few tears, your heart's made of solid rock! LOL

07 October 2008

Book Trailer: Beaudry's Ghost

Original music by Vaerna. Enjoy!

A Ghost of a Chance's Theme Song

Check out what Vaerna's written for my upcoming paranormal romance, A Ghost of a Chance!!

Click here and click on "A Ghost of a Chance" in her song list.

06 October 2008

Celtophile Monday

Welcome back to Celtophile Monday! All sources credited. Enjoy!

Braemar Castle Makeover
Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire was a stronghold of the Earls of Mar and is regarded as the ancestral home of the Farquharson clan. But in 2006 it was about to be sold. A local community group persuaded the Farquharsons to lease the castle to them for 50 years and, with the help of lottery funding, have undertaken a major makeover of the castle. It reopened to the public at weekends in May this year, after being closed for three years. This week the castle and the volunteers who worked miracles on restoring the building had a visit from one of their near neighbours - Prince Charles who stays at Balmoral Castle from time to time. In the drawing room he was shown a copy of his late grandmother's signature from a visit she made on the same date in 1956. For more on Braemar Castle and its refurbishment, see Braemar Castle Web site

Credit Crunch Affecting Tourism
Wet weather and the credit crunch were being blamed for a 10% fall in the number of visitors this summer to the tourist attractions maintained by Historic Scotland, the government's agency responsible for historic monuments across the country. Between April and September, 1.9 million people visited the organisation's 360 attractions, 216,00 fewer than in the same period last year. Edinburgh Castle, the "jewel in the crown", saw a decline in numbers of 13% and other main attractions such as Stirling Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Melrose Abbey and Caerlaverock Castle near Dumfries all saw a fall in visitor numbers.

Grocery Bags for Life
In an effort to cut down on the over 8,000 tonnes of plastic bags used in Scotland each year, a number of supermarkets have been issuing customers with free, reusable plastic bags which last for a considerable amount of time - and which the companies will replace "for life" if they are brought back and exchanged for a new one. These voluntary schemes are having an impact, but now all the major supermarkets have met with the Scottish government and have pledged to try to cut the number used by 50% by next spring.

Edinburgh's Oldest Resident
Annie Turnbull, Edinburgh's oldest resident, celebrated her 110th birthday last week. She only recently moved into a care home, having lived on her own in sheltered housing for many years. She was born in 1898, when Queen Victoria was on the throne and Edinburgh introduced its first motor buses - known in those days as the "Penny Stinkers". As a table-maid, she met many famous people, including Rudyard Kipling. She is thought to be Scotland's second-oldest woman and puts her longevity down to hard work - and a daily glass of sherry. At her 110th birthday celebration she was joined by her two daughters, three grandsons, one granddaughter, five great-grandsons and two great-granddaughters.

Strangest Tourists Questions
As the busy summer tourism season starts to quieten down, the VisitScotland staff at the information centre in Edinburgh have time to have a laugh at some of the strange questions they have been asked - and once again appear to have issued a press release with some of the gems. The perennial question "When does the One O'Clock Gun go off" still seems to crop up but others are more unusual, such as "What do they do with the Castle when the Festival is over?" and "Is the moon in New Zealand the same moon I see in Scotland?" There are also other comments about Edinburgh's castle (pictured here) which towers over the centre of the city (and the information centre). They do stretch the boundaries of IQ though, such as "Why didn't they build the Castle closer to the airport?" and "Isn't it convenient that they built the Castle so close to the train station!"

Dates in Scottish History:
* October 5 1785 - Balloon flight by Italian aeronaut Vincenzo Lunardi from Heriot's School, Edinburgh to Ceres in Fife.
* October 8 1774 - Rev Henry Duncan, founder of the first savings bank, born in the Manse at Lochrutton.
* October 9 1506 - King James IV ratified the Charter incorporating the Surgeons and Barbers.
* October 10 1802 - Writer and geologist Hugh Miller born on the Black Isle, Cromarty.
* October 11 1297 - Letter from Wallace and Moray to the mayors of Lubeck and Hamburg saying that "The Kingdom of Scotland has, by God's Grace, recovered by battle from the power of the English".
* October 11 2000 - Scotland's first First Minister Donald Dewar died suddenly after a fall on the steps of his official residence in Edinburgh.
* October 12 1866 - Ramsay MacDonald, first Labour Prime Minister of UK, born in Lossiemouth.
* October 13 1644 - Battle of Aberdeen, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, sacked the city.
* October 14 1318 - Edward Bruce, brother of Robert the Bruce, killed in a battle near Dundalk, Ireland.
* October 14 1969 - The 50 pence decimal coin was first issued, replacing the ten shilling note.
* October 15 1902 - Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel opened its doors for the first time.
* October 16 1430 - King James II born.
* October 17 1850 - James "Paraffin" Young obtained a patent for the extraction of paraffin from shale, starting the chemical industry in West Lothian.
* October 17 1995 - Bridge to the Isle of Skye opened.
* October 18 1958 - Denis Law became the youngest footballer to play for Scotland when he took part in the match against Cardiff when he was 18 years and 7 months old.

All the above are from the Rampant Scotland newsletter.

National Parks Ireland
The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) is part of the Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government and is charged with the conservation of a range of habitats and species in Ireland.

Cornwall in Focus
Over 500 pages of information about the spectacular coast of Cornwall! Click here.

Blog of the Week
Back of Beyond - A wee look at life and other funny things on the island of Lewis.

01 October 2008

Another Cool Contest!

Win a print copy of Beaudry's Ghost!